US trusted Libyan foreign minister: WikiLeaks

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Libya's defected foreign minister Mussa Kussa was a man the United States could rely on and engage with despite his spy background, according to US cables released by WikiLeaks on Thursday.

"Kussa frequently travels with Moamer Kadhafi and is a principal adviser on security matters," WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website, quoted the cable dated May 21, 2009 as saying.

"He is Western-educated... and is seen as a strong supporter of re-engagement with the West," said the message prepared ahead of a trip to Libya by now retired US general William Ward.

Kussa, 59, was installed as Kadhafi's foreign minister in March 2009 after having served as the head of Libya's intelligence agency from 1994.

"He has played a prominent role in US-Libya relations and, more broadly, in Libya's foreign affairs. Since becoming foreign minister, he has assumed several portfolios previously held by other prominent regime figures."

"Kussa is the rare Libyan official who embodies a combination of intellectual acumen, operational ability and political weight.

"Promoting specific areas of cooperation with him is an opportunity to have him cast that message in terms palatable to Libya's leadership."

Kussa traveled to Britain from Tunisia on Wednesday, according to the British government.

The one-time ambassador to Britain arrived "under his own free will" through Farnborough airport southwest of London on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

He was now in talks with British officials but Hague stressed that Kussa, who has been accused of masterminding the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, had not been offered immunity from prosecution.

© 2011 AFP

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